The BD 5, designed by Jim Bede (who had previously designed the AA1 Trainer and the BD 4 of which one has flown in New Zealand), burst onto the homebuilding scene in early 1980's and thousands of kits were sold worldwide because it looked so sexy. However the sales sped far ahead of the development of the aircraft which suffered huge problems with the original Hirth engine and with the shaft drive to the propellor. New Zealand was also swept up with the hype and Pacific Aerospace became the New Zealand agents and imported quite a few kits, some of which were sold to keen homebuilders. However the whole project collapsed for the above technical reasons and today there are thousands of partly built BD 5's around the world! Eventually different engines were tried but the most successful was the BD 5J which used a small jet engine and so overcame the technical problems. I think one BD 5J came to New Zealand and was flown at the opening of Auckland International Airport.
I think that ZK-XBD (c/n 3904, built by C A McMillan of Mosgiel, first registered on 30/6/04) was the first to fly, at Taieri, but it came to grief early on when it hit a navigation board on the airfield - can anyone confirm the first flight date and that it was the first to fly? It was then sold to G S Nicholls of Tauranga on 30/6/07 and I saw it flying at the 2008 SAANZ flyin at Tauranga where this photo was taken. (GS NIcholls also owns Rutan Long EZ ZK-LET which is another aircraft with an interesting story).
The next BD 5 to fly was (I think) Dr Ian Griffin's ZK-ZBD (c/n 3898 first registered on 21/8/01), photographed here at New Plymouth in 2006. This has flown several times at New Plymouth and Ian says it flies very well. This aircraft has a Honda Civic motor. It is currently owned by the ISJ Griffin Family Trust.
And the final BD 5 to fly (I think) was D F C Rose's ZK-ZIP (c/n AACA 235 first registered on 19/7/82!), which test flew at Ardmore in 2006 I think, and achieved some publicity in the newspapers when the undercarriage collapsed on landing. However it has been repaired and this photo was taken at Ardmore in 2007. The point on the nose is a lead weight for Cof G balance. It is currently owned by the ESOR Trust of Manakau City.
Several other BD 5's were completed in New Zealand in the 1980's and 1990's but I do not think any of them flew. I have a couple of photos of some of these BD 5's that I might post if anyone is interested. I think it would be interesting to document the full (but brief!) story of BD 5's in New Zealand - what information do others have out there?